Join Hester & Joe at Knit & Destroy's machine knitting workshop for #CraftInTheCity and get some machine knitting tips from Kandy Diamond.
7th September 2016 at 10 am
Hosted By: Kandy Diamond
Persistence Works, Sheffield
Tell us a little bit about the workshop, the aim of the class and who it was organised by?
This workshop was an amazing one day (6 hour) beginners guide to machine knitting. It comprised of all the basics of machine knitting, with organiser and teacher extraordinaire Kandy going through how the machines worked, casting on and off, learning some simple decorative techniques such as stripes, holes, ladders and weaving in, as well as getting a chance to try some 'punchcard' designs.
Kandy Diamond is a textiles university lecturer focusing on knitted textiles, after graduating with a first class (hons) degree in textile design with a specialism in knit in 2006. She also has her own book 'Knit and Destroy...Gets Handy', and an online shop full of her own designs.
Where was the workshop held and what was the venue like?
The workshop was held at Yorkshire ArtSPace Persistence Works in Sheffield. Set in the old industrial area of the city centre. In close proximity to the independant cinema, Site Gallery, as well as the Hallam University Student Hubs and the train station. The room was Kandy's personal studio and was the perfect mix of industrial and homey. With all white walls and floor, Kandy's personality came through clearly in her colourful inspiration boards, rows and rows of yarn, and examples of her previous work. It was small but appropriately sized for the intimate teaching style of the class.
What projects were the class making and how did your creations turn out?
We all had the chance to learn how to cast on the machines and then design our own pieces using different simple decorative techniques such as ladders, holes and stripes. After making these pieces we went on to learn how to make shaped pieces of knit on the machine, Joe and myself made a fish and were unashamedly impressed with our effort! We also learnt how to weave thicker fabrics into our designs, and how to create letters using this technique, I came away with a really cute, colourful 'H' to frame and display. Finally, we ended the session with having a go of punchcard designs, which came with the knitting machines we were using. These punchcards have a design cut into them which can then be fed into the machine. Using two different colours, we all created some incredible pieces using the punchcards.
Were you supplied with any materials and did you get any goodies to take home?
At the very beginning of the session, Kandy handed out especially made booklets entitled 'Machine Knitting Magic', which were full of instructions, diagrams and tips to ensure we all made the best of learning how to use a knitting machine. It is the perfect guide to have to hand when using the machines and will continue to be useful if we choose to invest in a machine ourselves.
What were the teachers like and did you get any one-on-one time?
Kandy was not only professional, she was also welcoming and friendly. It was clear she had a teaching background as every time she went through a new step it was very easy to follow as she was clear, consise and conscientious. She seemed very down to earth and was not afraid to have a good chat with us all while we were getting to grips with machine knitting. After learning a new technique Kandy came round to each of us to check we had understood and if we had any further questions or needed any help. The size of the class being small as well meant it was really easy for Kandy to get to us all without a fight.
Did you pick up any useful tips or tricks that you’ll continue to use at home?
Not only did I learn how to create different knits, but also how to care for them at home which is really practical. Kandy went through how to steam the pieces and then how to use an iron to prevent the corners turning which is really handy to know.
How big was the class and did you get a chance to chat to any new crafty friends?
The Knit and Destroy workshops Kandy runs are small with only enough room for 3 machines in her studio, Joe and myself were lucky enough to share one machine. We were all socialsing throughout the session, which made it really laidback and enjoyable.
What type of crafters would you recommend this workshop to?
This is a great workshop for beginners, and for those with previous experience who want a refresher or to learn decorative techniques that they may not know.
Have you been inspired to go home and craft something from the class?
After the workshop I found myself on ebay, gumtree, freecycle and other websites comparing machine types and prices! This workshop was so inspiring and really interesting.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Is there a craft workshop or cooking class in your town you'd like to test out for us? Send us a message!